Lloyds customers suffer unexplained online banking problems
LLOYDS Banking Group have seen their websites and apps hit with a persistent series of outages, preventing the customers of Lloyds, Halifax and the Bank of Scotland from accessing their accounts online.
The problems began on Wednesday, when customers found that the websites and apps of the three banks - which are owned under the umbrella of Lloyds Banking Group - were inaccessible.
Towards the end of Wednesday, it appeared as though the problems had been resolved, yet on Thursday customers continued to experience difficulties, with many turning to social media to vent their disappointment.
Lloyds, for their part, assured them that the "intermittent errors" weren't the result of a cyberattack, yet beyond assurances to "resolve this ASAP" they're unhelpfully keeping specific details to themselves.
Such guardedness has proved frustrating for some, not least because it now appears that issues have entered a third day for at least a small portion of customers.
One individual wrote on Twitter,
He wasn't alone in his irritation, with one particularly expressive customer declaring,
In response to such complaints, Lloyds have simply come back with highly subtle variations on the same stock phrase: that they're "aware of intermittent errors and are looking to resolve ASAP."
Yet despite their full awareness of the problem, and despite knowing just how badly some customers have been affected, they're unable to provide a timeframe for when the technical hiccups will be fully resolved.
@MagneticMtns trying to access Internet / Mobile Banking. Unfortunately, we don't have a definitive timescale, as yet, for when (2/4) ^RD @MagneticMtns the full service will be restored; however, please be assured we're working hard to resolve the issue as soon as (3/4) ^RD
@MagneticMtns trying to access Internet / Mobile Banking. Unfortunately, we don't have a definitive timescale, as yet, for when (2/4) ^RD- Lloyds Bank (@AskLloydsBank) 13 January 2017
@MagneticMtns the full service will be restored; however, please be assured we're working hard to resolve the issue as soon as (3/4) ^RD- Lloyds Bank (@AskLloydsBank) 13 January 2017
In fact, Lloyds Banking Group's response to the whole episode is so muddled and confused at the moment that, when we asked them for a statement on the precise nature of the problem, much like their own customers, we received a somewhat misleading response.
A spokesperson for them told us this morning, "While we had intermittent service issues with internet banking for a period earlier this week, we can confirm that a normal service has been restored. We are sorry for any inconvenience caused."
But as the tweets from today appear to confirm, normal service hasn't been restored, at least not entirely, and this is something Lloyds' customer service team on Twitter have acknowledged:
A small or large number?
And Lloyds' inability to resolve the issue quickly is worrying news, if only because they could end up being hit by a hefty fine.
For example, in 2014 RBS were treated to a £56 million penalty for failing to prevent glitches that kept 6.5 million customers locked out of their accounts in 2012.
At the moment, Lloyds are using their Twitter account to claim that only "a small number of customers" are affected, so perhaps their current predicament isn't quite on the same scale as that of RBS'.
However, the websites and apps of the banking group serve some 22 million current account holders, so there's potential for the disruption - and corresponding punishment - to be huge.
ATMs and PPI
Of course, it is hard to say at this present moment in time just how many people have been affected, yet it's also hard to imagine why a technical difficulty with the group's websites would affect only a "small number" of customers and not all of those who use online or app-based banking.
Either way, Lloyds may very well have to pay out compensation, as they had to on a small scale in 2014 when at least 3,500 ATMs stopped working one Sunday afternoon in January as a result of a "technical glitch".
They also had to pay out a record £117 million in 2015 for their handling of complaints related to the payment protection insurance (PPI) scandal, although it's hard to imagine any penalty for this recent headache being anywhere near as large as that.
But then again, the issue is still ongoing and Lloyds Banking Group aren't currently giving any unambiguous indication that they have it under control, so who knows where it will lead them.